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December 22, 2013

Goodwin's 20 leads No. 15 Memphis over Southeast Missouri State

Memphis coach Josh Pastner has abandoned thoughts of pressing for all 40 minutes. No hesitation about trying it once in a while, however.

Saturday night, it made a difference, as the No. 15 Tigers pulled away from Southeast Missouri State in the second half for a 77-65 victory.

"I'm glad that we put it in," Pastner said after the Tigers forced 19 turnovers that led to 24 points. "There's going to be different times that we need it. Sometimes we don't need it. Tonight, the press helped us win the game."

Shaq Goodwin's offense also contributed as he scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Goodwin made 10 of 12 shots as the Tigers (8-2) recovered from Tuesday night's 77-75 loss to No. 16 Florida at Madison Square Garden.

"It's important for Shaq to continue to be at a high level," Pastner said, noting the Redhawks double-teamed the sophomore forward. "He's important for us. But he's just got to keep it simple. There's times when he tried to make the home run play. But his energy is contagious. It's infectious, and we need him to be at a high level."

Joe Jackson added 16 points, and Geron Johnson finished with 10 points for Memphis. The Tigers shot 50 percent despite going 2-of-17 from outside the arc.

Tyler Stone led the Redhawks (7-4) with 23 points. Jarekious Bradley added 19 points, while Antonius Cleveland gave Southeast Missouri a second-half push, scoring 11 of his 14 points after the break. The 65 points by the Redhawks were 20 below their 85.6 average for the season.

"We don't ever think about that," Southeast Missouri coach Dickey Nutt said. "The thing we didn't want to do is take quick shots. Our defense hasn't been very good. We're holding people to about 44 percent. It needs to get to 40 (percent), and here we are facing a high octane type offense.

"We're more concerned with our defensive stops and rebounds. We think we can score, so we don't really worry too much about that," he said.

Southeast Missouri stayed close to the Tigers and still was within seven points with under eight minutes left before the Tigers finally broke away.

Jackson hit all six of his foul shots and had 12 points by halftime as Memphis took a 38-30 lead. The Tigers made only one of eight 3-point tries before the break.

The Tigers unleashed their press early in the second half, leading to a couple of turnovers and a 10-point Memphis lead. Nutt said the Tigers' athleticism finally showed leading to problems for his team.

"That's what good defensive teams do with tremendous, tremendous athletes," Nutt said. "I mean they glide. They barely look like they are moving, and they are 100 miles an hour. That's that gift they have."

Still, the Redhawks continued to hang in. Cleveland scored seven straight Southeast Missouri points during one stretch to keep the game close before Memphis put together a 7-0 run to take a 14-point lead with 6:04 left. The lead never got under double digits the rest of the way.

Pastner again said he has learned being strategic with the press may be the best way to use the defense.

"The press still is going to help us win games," he said. "It's going to still be good for us. It's just something that it might not be where it is a full 40 minutes."


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